Investigating the physiological response and antibody concentration of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) following Vibrio anguillarum vaccination depending on the stress coping style

Physiological Response Antibody Concentration Gilthead Sea Bream Vibrio Anguillarum Vaccination Stress Coping Style


Stress coping styles (SCSs) are defined as coherent sets of individual physiological and behavioral differences in stress response consistent across time and context and are described in a wide range of taxa, including fishes. These differences in behavior and physiology are of great interest because they may have direct implications on animal health, welfare, and performance in farming systems, including aquaculture. In this study, the physiological responses of sea bream (Sparus aurata) from different SCSs following Vibrio anguillarum vaccination were monitored. Fish were first screened either bold or shy (proxy of proactive and reactive SCSs, respectively) using group risk-taking tests and were then injected with a vaccine against V. anguillarum. Following vaccination, the fish were implanted with an accelerometer tag to monitor their swimming activity (proxy of energy expenditure), and blood sampling was carried out to measure health and welfare parameters (e.g., cortisol, glucose, hemoglobin) and aspecific immunity (e.g., protease, total proteins). In addition, blood was also collected at three different sampling times to screen antibody levels and, thus, to evaluate the efficiency of the vaccine. Following vaccination, bold fish displayed lower swimming activity values, indicative of lower energy expenditure, and also displayed higher levels of hematocrit, total proteins, and lysozyme in the plasma than the shy ones, which could be indicative of better health/welfare status and greater aspecific immunity. Finally, the V. anguillarum vaccination appeared to be more efficient in bold fish since the number of total antibodies was found higher than in shy fish 1 month after vaccination. Such results could help improve both health/welfare and productivity of farmed sea breams by selecting more robust fish, better adapted to farming conditions.